The cancer landmine

Fully aware of the dangers of an avalanche of hysteria, here goes.

Through incredible coincidence the leaders of both parties in the Icelandic government have been diagnosed with cancer in the past few months. At the exact moment when the most turbulent times in their country’s history hit.

Geir Haarde has a malign tumor in his esophagus, apparently an extremely difficult type of cancer. Ingibjorg Solrun Gisladottir has a brain tumor, reported to be benign but reports are mixed after a second operation last week.

Cue the most delicate situation you could imagine. Hordur Torfason who has organized the protests downtown stepped on a landmine of political correctness when he asked why Geir was “dragging his sickness into the spotlight at this exact moment” meaning when the protesters had stepped up their actions effectively closing down the parliament last week. Hordur ended up having to apologize for the “insensitive remarks”, while Facebook pages were created in Geir’s honor and right wing bloggers and the media concentrated on the remarks instead of the context.

“In Geir’s speech he said the Independent Party’s members of parliament wanted election on May 9. There was no reason given as to why the election should be held. Are they voting because he has cancer and if he didn’t then would the same crap have continued? Geir and Ingibjorg are horrible role-models for people with cancer. You would have thought that the offices they hold are demanding enough, let alone in times like these. I am really sick of this bullshit, this misplaced tolerance.

Things can be worded carefully. They are rude and horrible persons for serving this dish cold to their people. They are abusing the nation’s sympathy for their condition. Actually their stance is not surprising as denial is a phase you go through but their loved ones should talk some sense into them. Some people are surprised that Bjorgvin G. Sigurdsson resigned. I am stunned that everyone else is still sitting pretty.”

Strong words of a cancer-survivor who I heard from today. Although it is undoubted that everyone with an ounce of a heart feels sympathetic towards the two politicians in the battles of their lives it is hard to ignore how incredibly sad they are clinging to the reins of power. Ingibjorg Solrun looked in a terrible state in the news today. Asking for time and tolerance is still not acceptable for someone in her position. They should bot step down immediately and concentrate on getting well. After all, that should be more important than their jobs, which they have already demonstrated that plenty of people could do no worse at.

It is quite amazing that the previous pair of power, David Oddson and Halldor Asgrimsson also battled cancer at the summit of their career. Maybe the job should come with a health warning.

Having cancer should not be perceived as a lucky break for anyone, but that’s how people are talking beneath hushed breaths. The legacy of this government grows darker day by day.

Hopefully they both have long and healthy lives ahead of them. Just not as political leaders anymore.


2 Responses to “The cancer landmine”

  1. 1 Ingibjörg January 26, 2009 at 12:14 am

    a very, very good point!

    when Ólafur F. became Mayor of Reykjavík last year, after returning from a sick leave, he was questioned over and over again whether he was well enough to do the job…to his face! then he had to provide a health certificate and this matter was discussed back and forth in the media.

    why hasn’t anyone asked whether Ingibjörg Sólrún is fit to do this difficult job at these turbulent times in Iceland’s economic and political history???

    knowing quite a lot about cancer treatments, I know for sure that she must at least be suffering from fatigue and is taking a large dosage of steroids. on top of that, there is the psycological strain of fighting such a disease so I must ask: is she really capable of making the best decisions for the nation, considering her physical and mental state?

  2. 2 Vilhjalm A. January 26, 2009 at 8:09 am

    If it was a brain tumor, probably she got radiation, the side effects of which are anemia, disruption of blood supply to the brain, general trauma of the head, that sort of thing. Or if it was an operation, they would have drilled through her skull and extracted tissue after cauterizing numerous blood vessels to the brain. So that shouldn’t affect her thinking? In her case, perhaps not, lol.
    GH and SG et al are selfish and delusional, as have been the politicians in charge of Iceland for at least the past 15 years. Add to that the usual vanity, overconfidence, and inflated sense of importance of most politicians. They no doubt believe that they have worked hard for the country, and have been unfairly blamed for what has happened. They probably think they are being courageous for working for the country despite their health problems, and (wrongly of course) think they can deal with the crisis better than anyone else.
    It’s impossible to deal with delusional, irrational people like this. The only choice is to force them to leave.

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